A prompt a day, keeps writer’s block away…

November 13, 2012

Thanks to Vikki Thompson for this guest post. 


Pick up any “How To” writing guide and you will read the same advice, over and over again. That the only way to improve your writing is to write. The old adage, “practice makes perfect” may be a cliché  but it’s one of the best pieces of writing advice anyone will ever give you.

As an aspiring writer who dreams of one day publishing a novel, I knew when I started writing in 2010, that I needed to learn my craft. I needed to find my “voice” and my “style” before I could even begin to start thinking about genre. So I attended workshops, classes and conferences, all in the hopes of seeing some improvement to my writing.

But it wasn’t until this year, when I embarked on a daily writing challenge, that I began to see any visible improvement. My writing began to change, it seemed to flow better. My “voice” and a distinct “style” started to develop.

On the first of January 2012 I decided to commit to using a writing prompt every single day for a year. I chose to work with a book (The Writers Book of Days by Judy Reeves) but you could just as easily use other forms of prompts. I aimed for 15 minutes of writing that first day, and it was a struggle. By the end of the first month I was ready to give up! But I carried on, determined to stick with it. By the end of February I was addicted.

Most people say they haven’t got time to write. But everyone can find 15 minutes in their day, to sit down with a notebook and pen.

I found that with the more inspiring prompts, the ones that really grabbed me, I could write for up to an hour (time permitting of course). Some have turned into complete short stories, others have remained as scenes but subsequently prompted novel ideas.

It’s probably been one of the hardest, most enjoyable experiences of the past 2 years (ok, possibly not as enjoyable as sitting in a bar with Iain Banks at a writing conference in 2011, but close!) and has boosted my confidence in my own words tenfold!

I think I have a long way to go before I’m “perfect” (does any writer actually believe that about their own work?), but I am a completely different writer to the one I was 11 months ago.

So next time you see the words “practice” and you think you haven’t got time, remember these words from Ray Bradbury- “Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”

Vikki Thompson lives in Kent with her husband, 3 adult children (who refuse to leave home) and 2 cats. She blogs daily at The View Outside and spends her time fantasising about being the next EL James (If Robert Downey Jnr is available for research).  She is midway through writing her 3rd novel and last month started studying with The Faber Academy. She is hoping that SJ Watson won’t be too upset when she becomes the next Faber success story (tongue firmly in cheek!).

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2 Responses to A prompt a day, keeps writer’s block away…

  1. November 15, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Very inspirational. I read your posts every day and it’s helping me to focus my own writing methods. I’m going to try The Writers Book of Days in the new year and get to work on developing my own style.

    A pleasure as always to read x

    • Vikki
      November 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Hi Heather

      Good luck with The Writers Book of Days honey. I don’t know what I’m going to do come January the 1st 2013….start it again?


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